DailyDirt: Kill All The Mosquitoes

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Mosquitoes are a serious pest. They spread terrible diseases like malaria and dengue fever, and they're just generally annoying to people. So it's no surprise that quite a few methods have been developed to kill them off in significant numbers, if not entirely. There are actually thousands of different kinds of mosquitoes, and some of them are completely harmless to humans. But if we could target just the ones that spread diseases, we could prevent an enormous amount of death and suffering. Is it really safe to drive mosquitoes to extinction? Here are just a few ways we're trying to do it (regardless of whether we should). If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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  1. identicon
    The Old Man in The sea, 2 Apr 2014 @ 3:37am

    Re: Re:Not finding information/evidence of the importance of ....

    Mike,

    The problem with her not finding any evidence of the importance of mosquitoes for *any* system is that her not finding evidence is irrelevant. The biosphere is so large and so complicated that we have only touched the very outer edges of information we can learn about it.

    For all we know, the importance of mosquitoes lies in their function as a disease vector. Additionally, it may be the larval form that is essential for other organisms, not the adult form. It may be the adult male form that is the critical item. We just do not know.

    The information about interactions between mosquitoes and other parts of the biosphere will take years, decades, or even centuries to understand.

    As an aside, there is a view among certain scientific bodies that mangroves are a delicate environment and in particular places, there is legislative regimes to protect mangroves. Even to the extent that if you break off a single leaf and are caught, it is a massive fine of many thousands of dollars.

    Interestingly, I grew up in areas with extensive mangrove environments and the observations made by the locals are that mangroves are incredibly resilient and durable. They quickly recover from massive damage caused by cyclones, flooding, storm surges. etc.

    We just don't know and any process that eradicates any species of mosquitoes completely may well affect the biosphere in ways we would never have thought of. We see enough of this when we introduce a new species in an environment. Cane toads anyone???

    The unintended effects of our actions may take considerable time to appear or they may just be balanced out by other entities within the environment and biosphere. These are important areas of study, but we seem to be more in spending our time, money and effort on spy agencies, defence contracts, politicians' breakfasts and atom smashers (not that I have anything against atom smashers).

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